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The Mask (1961)

Approved | | Horror, Thriller | 1 November 1961 (USA)
A young archaeologist believes he is cursed by a mask that causes him to have weird nightmares and possibly to murder. Before committing suicide, he mails the mask to his psychiatrist, Dr. ... See full summary »


Julian Roffman


Frank Taubes (script by), Sandy Haver (script by) | 2 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Paul Stevens ... Doctor Allan Barnes
Claudette Nevins ... Pam Albright
Bill Walker Bill Walker ... Lieutenant Martin
Anne Collings Anne Collings ... Miss Goodrich
Martin Lavut Martin Lavut ... Michael Radin
Leo Leyden ... Doctor Soames
Norman Ettlinger Norman Ettlinger ... Professor Quincey
W.B. Brydon W.B. Brydon ... Anderson (as Bill Bryden)
Jim Moran Jim Moran ... Jim Moran
Eleanor Beecroft Eleanor Beecroft ... Mrs. Kelly
Ray Lawlor Ray Lawlor ... Lab technician
Rudi Linschoten ... Mime in nightmare
Stephen Ker Appleby Stephen Ker Appleby ... Museum guide (as Steven Appleby)
Alfie Scopp
Paul Elsom Paul Elsom


A young archaeologist believes he is cursed by a mask that causes him to have weird nightmares and possibly to murder. Before committing suicide, he mails the mask to his psychiatrist, Dr. Barnes, who is soon plunged into the nightmare world of the mask. Written by Jeff Hole <jeffhole@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The greatest thrill since you saw the first picture move! See more »


Horror | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Canada's first film in the horror genre. See more »


When Dr. Barnes runs past the museum display cases, a crew member's reflection is visible in the glass. See more »


Doctor Allan Barnes: I must. I must experience the greatest act of a human mind: to take another life.
See more »

User Reviews

Ever watched paint dry? You may want to...
5 July 2001 | by enfilmigultSee all my reviews

No, it's not the Jim Carrey comedy: this is the story of a psychiatrist who is sent a mysterious Aztec mask by a seriously disturbed patient who kills himself right after dropping it in the mail. Compelled to put it on, he is driven further and further to the brink of insanity by strange hallucinations...unfortunately, the premise may sound okay but is just an excuse for the movie's one claim to fame, its 3-D sections.

Essentially, this is a really awful, poorly written "thriller" which looks as though it was made for about $4.50 on a spare weekend, and is sparked only by bizarre 3-D sequences that occur whenever someone puts on the mask. Otherwise, it's dull and idiotic, and sadly bereft even of unintentional laughs. The plot is so scanty that it seems like a 20-minute story stretched out to three times that. It's about as blatant a gimmick movie as has ever been made, because unlike William Castle's films, it doesn't even bother itself to be entertaining outside of its own gimmick. The biggest cheat, then, is that the movie doesn't end with its final 3-D scene, but keeps chugging on as though we would be even slightly interested in what happens to any of the characters or how the story ends (this makes it even more annoying that the ending is as inconsequential as it is; nothing is actually concluded or wrapped up except that the movie itself stops).

The sequences themselves are strange enough to make this worth watching at least once, though; they're certainly more stylish than anything that occurs between them and look, if nothing more than low-budget, not quite as horrendously cheap as everything else in the film. Creepy men with melted faces make sacrifices on altars; women's faces turn into skulls; fire, disembodied eyes, and burnt, pleading hands fly towards us. It's got nothing to do with the story, but there's some glimmer of competence here; it's helped by a strange soundtrack. Too bad it's such a slog to get through the rest of the film.

The "Midnight Madness" video release of the film is slightly entertaining for actually being in 3-D and also for being hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, who adds her usual crude, jolly one-liners; she is sorely missed during the movie itself, though. You'll find yourself constantly fast-forwarding just to get to the next 3-D sequence; on TV, in two dimensions, this is totally worthless.

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Release Date:

1 November 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Face of Fire See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Box Office


$250,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White | Color (3-D sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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